Monday, December 26, 2011

The Wave

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Essay Question Explain why people wanted to join “The Wave” and how word of mouth spread. Use examples from the text.

‘The Wave” was an intriguing notion that developed within the schools society that almost progressed into a cult. Students felt obligated to join this movement in many forms, democracy, power, equality or merely the opportunity to be accepted. They were also enticed by the concept of increased social stasis in the group, whilst growing self-discipline. Once in this movement they felt empowered amongst the school. Their self-esteem grew; their contribution became more known and acknowledged. The propaganda device was alleged to be the main key of The Wave organization through, the schools newspaper, salute and motto; this eventuated in rumour, word of mouth and mass rallies. The idea progressed heavily through the process of threat-persuasion. The Waves member’s enthusiasm grew immensely drawing the students to believe The Wave could work.

The process of bullying was a series of attempts aimed at cajoling people to join The Wave. The procedure of threat-persuasion happens in front of our eyes everyday where people are confronted with the same interrogation, once refused they begin the process of persuasion to enter the movement, examples of this is shown when Laurie receives a letter about a person who went through the process when resisting to join

“The senior starting telling us how great The Wave was. He said that the more kids who joined, the better it would get. He said almost all the seniors at school had joined and most of the juniors too.” (THE WAVE, PG 64 & 65)

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This was a simple tactic used at propelling one side of the story the positives and majority of people joining The Wave. This approach is used in everyday life, making people feel compelled to enlist so there not left out. The next step is the emotional pressure they place on the people, example is made known when

“I told him they were still my friends even if I didn’t join. He kept asking me why I didn’t want to join. I just told him I didn’t feel like it. Then he got mad. He said pretty soon people in The Wave wouldn’t want to be friends with people who weren’t in it. He even said I’d lose all my friends if I didn’t join.” (THE WAVE, PG. 65)

This emotional pressure makes people feel dreadful for simply not doing something they didn’t want to do. The pressure gets even worse when they imply verbal threats, for example

“I saw that senior from Mr. Ross’s class in the hall and he asked if I had joined yet. I told him I didn’t intend to. He said if I didn’t join soon it would be too late.” (THE WAVE. Pg, 65).

This threat leaves people feeling scared, it is when most people think twice and consider going against their will to avoid conflict. The final step is when they become aggressive and eventuate into violence. Example of this is when

“Almost out of control, he screamed ‘shut up!’ and threw her down on the grass. Her books went flying as she fell roughly to the ground.” (THE WAVE. Pg, 8)

This is the final step in which they have been driven to do something, and when someone stands in their way they will do anything to stop them. They are under a trance to accomplish one goal, and will result in violence without even knowing there doing it. This is supported through the authority of power you experience whilst in the movement.

In the movement power was a major issue towards the involvement of members. Power is defined as having the ability to do something in a particular way or the skill to direct or influence the behavior of others. Many people experience power in real life through taking control of people or situations it makes them feel important and wanted. The mechanism of power grew as the movement continued; this is displayed when the leader, Mr. Ross realized his power within The Wave

“The students made him more of a leader than he had ever wished to be. But it was also true that he had not resisted. In fact, he had to admit that before the experiment had gone bad, he had enjoyed those fleeting moments of power. A crowed room full of students obeying his commands, The Wave symbol he’d created posted all over the school, even a bodyguard. He had read that power could be seductive, and now he had experienced it.” (THE WAVE. Pg, 1)

Power contributes a lot towards our choices; this is clearly explained above, where someone can feel so empowered that the effects of situations can get away with them, as they lose control of the situation. Thus they cancel out the excess of the circumstance as they are so tied up in the power they receive from the people. The leaders of The Wave would accept new members, as it would demonstrate to existing members and others the power and influence they possess.

People felt their self-esteem rise once they were accepted into The Wave. Acceptance is an important issue that occurs regularly in schools around the world. It is heavily but upon by the so called ‘losers’ of the school, where they are outsiders who are considered different by the other students, so when an opportunity comes forth to be accepted for who they are they grab it. For the first time they feel protected and wanted. This matter occurs with the school loner, Robert

“There were two girls from Mr. Ross’s class sitting at the table Robert choose. As Robert set his tray down, they both stood up and took their trays away to another table. Robert pretended he hadn’t noticed.”(THE WAVE. Pg, 18)

This incident happens before Robert is accepted, Robert shows no emotion when the girls leave, but in fact he really needs to be accepted and is hurting inside once they leave. Here’s an example of what happens occurs when Robert is part of The Wave

“At lunch that day all The Wave members who were in the cafeteria set at a single long table. Brian, Brad, Amy, Laurie and David were there. At first Robert Billings seemed tentative about joining them, but when David saw him he insisted he sit at the table, telling him they were all part of The Wave now.”(THE WAVE. Pg, 51)

This shows how joining and being accepted by a movement can change people’s perspective on other people they didn’t acknowledge before. Peer pressure is contributed towards people being accepted. A good example would be whereby a group of students putting undue pressure on another student to do something that he/she would not normally do, however they would go through with it to be accepted. In this situation the new student would believe to have parity amongst the group.

Equality within The Wave was an important ingredient towards the success of the group. Each member would receive equality. They all felt that they would be listened to without fear of criticism, whereas today you can have a discussion with someone and your thoughts on the subject may be rejected. An extract from the text by a member tells us of how he believes equality exists among the group

“It’s like there’s no in crowd anymore……… That’s what’s so great about The Wave. You don’t have to worry about how popular you are. We’re all equal. We’re all part of the same community.” (THE WAVE. Pg, 51 & 5)

The above quote clearly explains that within The Wave there’s no popularity contest and everyone is treated the same. This is why The Wave became so successful because everyone who joined was treated with the same respect as existing members. This emotion of feeling part of a group is what is found in some cults.

A cult is a form of movement which attracts people that are weak-minded and require special needs including, acceptance therefore they can be easily influenced. A cult is normally started where one person or a group of people that invite gullible persons by giving them a sense of security and self worth, but only for there own personal gain. An example of a change of person is shown when a students personality completely changes

“You know they’ve been having problems with him for years. Elaine has talked to me frequently about it. She is very worried.”(THE WAVE. Pg, 58)

“Only that I met Elaine Billings at the supermarket today, and she told me Robert is a completely new person.” (THE WAVE. Pg, 58)

This example explains how by joining a cult, and feeling a sense of significance can totally change a person’s personality and prospect towards life. The cult gives you guidance and an aim in life, but once The Wave is exterminated your point in life gets dropped. This awareness of well being expanded all over the school.

Visual contact is the ability to see something; this was a release that helped expose The Wave to the schools community. Majority of people in the world believe and take note of the actions they see. Hearing the motto of The Wave and observing the salute everyday by many people, gave the impression of belief of this movement. As people starting believing in the movement they wanted everybody to experience this type of cult so they continued with the salute and motto

“Strength Through Discipline, Strength Through Community, Strength Through Action.” (THE WAVE. Pg, 51)

These strong words repeated over help people trust the strength of the movement. This is not the only component The Wave used to exploit itself another is the newspaper.

The newspaper or anything written about real issues in the world is thought of as the truth. Many people believe that what’s written done and published is fact and by reading a newspaper, one single issue, can change a persons perspective on something as they believe what they’re reading, this is shown in the book when

“The issue of The Wave had been so successful that it was almost impossible to find and extra copy anywhere. Not only that, but the teachers and administrators and even some of the students had stopped them all day and thanking them for revealing ‘the other side’ of The Wave.” (THE WAVE. Pg, 85&86)

This tells us of how one newspaper article can change peoples minds about something they truly believed in and how word of this got spread so quickly, through the newspaper and word of mouth.

Word of mouth or rumour is a very strong and quick way of revealing a story or happening. Many people believe what they hear, because they hear it from a person they rely on to expose the truth. Word of mouth can travel very fast especially within a school community, where one person will be telling another a story and before the end of the day it would have gotten back to the source. This is why The Wave became so popular because it became known within a day of starting it. Examples of this are when

“What had begun as a simple history experiment had become a fad that was spreading outside his classroom. As a result a result, some unexpected things had started to occur. For one, the size of his daily history class beginning to expand.” (THE WAVE. Pg, 5)

“To add to the interesting developments in his experiment was a report he’d heard that David Collins and his friends Eric and Brian had successfully infused The Wave into the school’s football team.” (THE WAVE. Pg, 54.)

Rumour is what has eventuated in the above text, it tells us of how people have spread the word of The Wave making people want to listen in and learn more. So by telling the whole football team and applying The Wave matter was thought to help the football team to succeed. Word of mouth assisted in the dispersal of The Wave development.

People join cults or groups for there own fulfillment. The many reasons why people joined The Wave were because they offered a number of desires for people to satisfy their needs and wants, these included; power, equality and acceptance. The Wave was influenced by a number of reasons that made it successful through word of mouth, newspaper, the salute and motto. The process of threat-persuasion was an immense impact on why people entered The Wave.

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